The TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Pro: What’s the Difference?

June 9th, 2023 by

A popular Toyota Tacoma for sale near Manchester, VA, a blue 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport, is shown driving on a trail.

Since its inception in 1995, the Toyota Tacoma has been a top choice for buyers wanting a ruggedly attractive pickup truck. This midsize pickup is designed for superb off-roading experiences and is riddled with creature comforts. It is one of Toyota’s undeniable successes, with a loyal customer base that continues to grow year after year. Drivers just can’t seem to get enough of the Tacoma, as there’s been a constant stream of newcomers looking for a Toyota Tacoma for sale near Manchester, VA, here at Haley Toyota of Richmond.

Over the years, Toyota has built up the Tacoma to be a stellar performer. Part of that growth has involved adding what the automaker calls the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) series of trim levels. While these do come on other Toyota models, the TRD Off-Road, TRD Sport, and TRD Pro truly enhance the Tacoma’s lineup with their long list of added capabilities and features. All three are athletic and sturdy, adding more power and features as you go up the TRD trim level ladder.

If you are looking to buy a Tacoma, consider trying out one of the TRD models. What you need to know before you take one for a test drive, however, is that each TRD model has its own features and specifications. That being said, it’s time to review what makes each TRD on the Tacoma unique.

The Toyota Tacoma’s TRD Series

On the Tacoma, there are a grand total of six trim levels you can choose from: the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro, and Limited.

As you might imagine, the TRD models are aptly named. Many of the features and specs you will find on them cater to what their names suggest. Obviously, there are going to be some price differences, but you do get the same cab choices; you can select from either the extended cab (which Toyota names the Access Cab) or the crew cab (dubbed the Double Cab). The Access Cab has a six-foot truck bed, while the Double Cab has either a five- or six-foot bed.

The TRD Sport

As you can see from the trim level list above, the TRD Sport is the first TRD entry, denoting it as the most affordable of the three TRDs. The TRD Sport is powered by a 3.5L V6 DOHC 24-valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle engine. This engine comes with Variable Valve Timing-Intelligent Wider Intake and a Variable Valve Timing-Intelligent Exhaust. Power output maxes out at 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. This V6 is matched to a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), which delivers fierce power to the rear wheels. Best yet, the rear-wheel drive (RWD) powertrain is outfitted with an automatic limited-slip differential.

This truck is built with 9.4 inches of ground clearance, making it a tall step up. However, this is ideal for traveling far off the beaten path and over rugged terrain. Hill Start Assist Control comes standard, and the sport-tuned suspension gives the TRD Sport a firmer ride quality to create a sportier performance.

The TRD Sport has a payload capacity of 1,525 lbs and a max towing capacity of 6,800 lbs. Towing is made possible with a Class-IV towing hitch receiver, engine oil cooler, and a four- and seven-pin connector with an electrical quick converter. An ATF cooler is available for the automatic transmission models, plus Trailer Sway Control (TSC) comes with the V6-equipped TRD Sport.

Inside the cabin is an abundance of tech gadgets you can play with. The TRD Sport has an 8.0-inch touchscreen display with smartphone app integration from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Bluetooth connectivity and SiriusXM compatibility are also included. You do have the option of upgrading to a premium sound system and integrated navigation for the touchscreen. Stay connected with Toyota’s Safety Connect bundle, Wi-Fi Connect (which requires 4G), and Remote Connect.

Advanced driver assistance tools come in a rather high number as well. Toyota equips their TRD Sport with the Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes helpful features such as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Automatic High Beams, and Lane Departure Alert. Airbags are placed in all critical areas, and an engine immobilizer is a standard issue in case of a collision.

A close up shows the drive mode dial in a 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter.

The TRD Off-Road

Next up is the TRD Off-Road. This trim level has the same powertrain as the TRD Sport but ditches RWD in favor of a “4WDemand” part-time 4WD. This 4WD system comes with an electronically controlled transfer case and an automatic limited-slip differential to enhance the vehicle’s off-roading capabilities. Its approach, departure, and breakover angle degrees change because of these alterations; however, there are still 9.4 inches of ground clearance to keep the TRD Off-Road from underbody damage while off-roading. Also, this trim level comes with an electronically controlled locking rear differential.

The TRD Off-Road ditches the sport-tuned suspension in favor of a uniquely designed suspension with Bilstein shocks built in for enhanced off-roading performance. The TRD Off-Road’s Off-Highway Tech consists of Crawl Control (simply labeled CRAWL) with Multi-Terrain Select (MTS). This assists the truck in crawling over rocky terrain, making it easier to get over different types of obstacles.

Payload ratings drop to 1,155 lbs, but you do gain an extra seat, allowing you to seat up to five people inside the cab. Maximum towing capacity drops by 400 lbs to 6,400 lbs, which is still a decent rating for a truck of this size.

Tech upgrades for the TRD Off-Road include the option of equipping an eight-speaker JBL sound system. It comes as part of the TRD Premium Off-Road Package (for the Double Cab A/T). Adding this also gives your truck leather-trimmed seats, a moonroof, Dynamic Navigation, and automatic headlights.

The TRD Pro

The highest-level TRD model you can get on the Tacoma is the TRD Pro. It might look a bit like the other TRD models from the outside, but its elevated price tag is justified by the inclusion of more features. While its powertrain is the same as the lower trims, a TRD Pro cat-back exhaust gets swapped in; this boosts horsepower and gives the truck a deeper growl that lends to its more aggressive design. There is also a TRD machine-forged upper control arm that gets added along with the TRD-tuned off-road suspension. This suspension comes with 2.5-inch FOX Internal Bypass coilovers and rear remote-reservoir shocks, again lending to a more aggressive approach.

Standard technology for the TRD Pro includes the 8.0-inch infotainment system with integrated navigation and a premium JBL sound system. Advanced driver assistance features tacked onto the TRD Pro include a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and a Rear Parking Assist sonar.

The TRD Pro’s cabin is what truly sets it apart from the other TRD models. This is adorned with black TRD Pro leather-trimmed front seats with a heating function. The driver’s seat is ten-way power-adjustable and boasts two-way lumbar support; the front passenger seat is adjustable in four different ways. There is also a unique TRD Pro shift knob and TRD floor mats.

A red spring is shown on a 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD.

Which TRD Is Right for You?

Toyota makes it so that you can configure the Tacoma to your liking. You can take your pick from several different trim levels and cab configurations, but the TRD models tend to be best-sellers in this lineup. They offer exemplary off-roading capabilities and are able to do a fair amount of towing.

If you are in the market for a new pickup truck to get you around Manchester, consider buying one of the Tacoma’s TRD trim levels. The sporty TRD Sport might satisfy your needs, but the TRD Off-Road’s 4WD might appeal more to those who love adventures far off the beaten path. The TRD Pro has a lot of the same capabilities as the TRD Off-Road but adds more luxurious details to the cabin. No matter which model you choose, you are destined to have a lot of fun roaming off paved roadways.